By Jeffrey Hodgson
TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Sunday urged his police chief to release a video that media reports say show him smoking what appears to be crack cocaine and issued an apology for unspecified “mistakes” in his past.
But Ford, who has previously said he does not use crack, and who did not discuss the content of the video, also said he would not step down and planned to run in the next election.
“Chief, I’m asking you to release this video now,” Ford said on his weekly radio show, referring to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.
“Whatever this video shows … Toronto residents deserve to see it, and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video,” Ford said.
“I’m the first one to admit I’m not perfect. I have made mistakes. I have made mistakes and all I can do right now is apologize for the mistakes. I sincerely, sincerely apologize to my family, to the citizens, to taxpayers of this great city.”
Ford said he wanted to move forward, but recognized he has to make changes in his life.
“Unfortunately I cannot change the past. I can just move forward and learn from the past, which I’ll assure you I’m doing,” he said.
The mayor’s apology comes after Toronto police said last week they had recovered a copy of a video that was “consistent” with one reportedly seen by journalists at the Toronto Star newspaper and by media blog Gawker earlier this year.
Both the Star and Gawker said the video shows the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
Ford’s lawyer said on Friday that his client was not smoking crack in the video, which has dominated Canadian headlines for months, even though it has been seen by only a few people.
The Star and Gawker said they were shown the video, separately, by a man who wanted to sell it to them. Gawker raised funds to buy the video, but said it was unable to re-establish contact with the seller.
Ford, a right-wing politician elected on a cost-cutting platform in 2010, said on Thursday he could not comment on the matter because the video was evidence in a separate case before the courts.
Police Chief Blair said on Thursday police had retrieved the video from a deleted hard drive recovered in a drug investigation.
Blair would not describe what was happening on the video, but said it showed the mayor, and that he was “disappointed” by what he saw.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by David Brunnstrom)
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